Applications have been handed in, meaning elections for the fall 2013 Student Association (SA) senate and E-board will soon be underway.
While the SA president position will be uncontested in this semester’s election, three students have cast their names into the fray for the role of executive vice president.
Current senators Zachary Rousseas, Jesse Ginsburg and Mary Bacorn will all be choices for the second-highest ranking member of student government when voting begins on the morning of Tuesday, April 30.
The three competing senators have various issues they hope to address should they be elected to the position.
Ginsburg, a second-year student and third-term senator, said the three key things he would focus on as executive vice president are helping adjunct faculty, continuing to push for the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies program to gain departmental status and researching the “spike” in drug-related arrests on campus.
“I think critically about a lot of different things and come up with creative solutions to problems,” Ginsburg said. “I feel like I am really out here fighting the good fight – my priorities are straight and I’m doing this for the right reasons.”
Ginsburg said adjunct faculty members are treated unfairly on campus, which he believes leads to a decrease in the quality of education students receive. He said any movement toward improving adjunct-related issues would be his “number one priority.”
The other issue Ginsburg said he would like to focus on, drug-related arrests, is shared by other candidates as well.
Rousseas, a second-year student and second semester senator, said he would push for SUNY New Paltz to adopt a “three-strike” system for drug-related crimes on campus, similar to comparable schools. He said students have felt “wrongly” persecuted and as such would work to rectify the problem.
However, Rousseas said the major issue he would hope to tackle if elected would be making sure all students on campus “feel safe.”
“I would want to make students who don’t feel that New Paltz is a safe place feel welcomed; whether that be a person of color, LGBTQ students or women – to name a few,” Rousseas said. “The increase in sexual assaults I feel has gone basically unnoticed and I want to make all community members feel safe here.”
Rousseas said he believes he would be able to best represent the student body because he has a track record of fighting for student concerns and has stood his ground on various debates during his time on senate.
“I’m passionate and dedicated, and I invest what seems like all my time in SA,” Rousseas said. “I know I would do a good job.”
Bacorn, a third-year student and first semester senator, said she originally intended to run for vice president of programming, but after hearing of the responsibilities that come with being executive vice president, she decided to change her course of action.
Bacorn said being elected into the position would allow her to continue her work on making Women’s Gender and Sexuality a department, and by being in a position on the SA E-board, she would have more of a voice.
“I’m spearheading [Women’s Gender and Sexuality gaining departmental status], and by being on the E-board I would have more say and delegate more jobs to people as opposed to just being a senator and doing my own thing,” Bacorn said.
Working on ways to better integrate transfer students upon their arrival at SUNY New Paltz is another change Bacorn said she would like to make if she were elected to the position.
“I have talked to numerous students and they all have negative things to say about their first semester here,” Bacorn said. “Only 100 transfer students lived on campus this past year, but I want to try and increase that. Pushing them aside and making them deal with landlords off campus is awful and they can never get truly immersed in the community of New Paltz. I lived on campus and made friends that way, it’s important – and most schools can do that for their transfers.”
Besides executive vice president, multiple other positions are being voted on next week.
Manuel Tejada, currently the SA’s executive vice president, will run unopposed for the position of SA president. Jordan Taylor is also running unopposed for the position of vice president of academic affairs. Issa Beydoun, Anthony Adegunle, Youssouf Kuoyo and Daniela Surdo are running for vice president of finance and the vice president of programming position will be contested by Yaritza Diaz, Henry Lino and Molly Thurston-Chase.
Votes can be cast on my.newpaltz.edu beginning at 8 a.m. on April 30 until midnight on May 2.
* An earlier version of this article listed Rousseas as a first-year student. He is a second-year student.